Grammar

How to help English learners use linking expressions

Linking ideas logically

My writing is not as good as I would like. For example, I have noticed that I barely use transitions and connectives (called linkers from now on).  The majority of my sentences start with a subject instead of linkers that would help to organise the ideas logically. Something useful when you are struggling to keep your sentences short.

Clearly, a starting point would be to memorise a list of linkers. However, I do not think that would help me use transitions and connectives naturally.  In fact, I believe that making a strategic decision will have a better impact in the long term.

Creating my personal selection of linkers.

In my case,  I will concentrate only on using some of them. For instance, those most used by my colleagues, friends and other people I interact with.

  • To support, add or continue: Also, too, in addition, last, finally, furthermore, in the same way.
  • To compare and contrast: Also, and, both, but, just as, although, as well as, whether or not, on the other hand, instead, however, despite.
  • To introduce details: For example, in fact, for instance, such as, in this case, according to.
  • To show cause and effect: Since, because of, due to, therefore, as a result, for this reason, consequently, accordingly, hence.
  • To indicate order, sequence or importance: To begin with, first, second (etc.), sooner or later,
  • To show chronological order: Ater, finally, since, at last, when, during, as soon as, then, at the same time.
  • To Conclude: in any case, obviously, in short, without a doubt, without question, in other words.
  • To counter: Obviously … but. Clearly… however.

Making it personal by practising.

Obviously, the only way to make this a habit it is by practising but not all exercises are useful in the same way. Personally, I believe that correcting your own writing it is the best way to go. Pick up any text you have written days ago and tried to improve it by including linkers. Then, compare the final result with the original and check if there is an evident improvement. Consequently, you will realise that this method is much more useful than doing so with third-party texts.

Before and after linking more.

Original: 

I am not against the grammar. For the first time, I am truly enjoying writing in English such as I would have done writing in Spanish. The words are coming out without any effort; it is just that annoying voice behind my ear saying “you are not making any sense” that bothers me. As part of my journey of learning a new language, time ago I decided to sacrifice one of the most beloved activities in my own language; writing. I thought that the less I write in Spanish the faster I would learn English. Not sure if that was the correct decision.

After: linkers helped to organise the ideas:

Clearly, I am not against the grammar. However, this is the first time that I am enjoying writing in English just as in Spanish. To begin with, the words are coming out without any effort despite the annoying voice behind my ear saying “you are not making any sense”.  As soon as I started my journey learning English, I sacrificed my most beloved activity in Spanish; writing. Obviously, I believed that writing less in Spanish would make me learn English faster, but I am not sure that was the correct decision anymore.

 

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